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The Pilat Dune
The Pilat Dune
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Open from 00/04/2021 to 01/10/2021

The Pilat Dune : The Pilat Dune

Emblem of the region : The Pilat Dune, 25km from the campsite

Pilat or Pyla?

Although the Dune welcomes more than 2 million visitors every year, few people know the correct spelling. Should one write Dune du Pilat or Dune du Pyla? The answer could not be simpler: Dune du Pilat, from the Gascon word Pilàt, "heap", "mound". Pyla refers to the seaside resort that adjoins the dune, Pyla-sur-Mer.

The Pilat Dune
The highest dune in Europe
The highest dune in Europe

The highest dune in Europe

Located at the entrance to the Arcachon basin, in the commune of La Teste-de Buch, the Dune du Pilat proudly stands as the highest dune in Europe. With its 60 million m3 of sand, it is 2.9 km long and 616 m wide. Depending on the year, its height varies between 100 and 115 m high (102.5 m in 2020).

It is also the only mobile dune moving inland at a rate of 1 to 5 m per year, influenced by the prevailing winds and tides. Its progression is unstoppable and makes it a unique and exceptional place.

A history dating back over 4000 years

It took nature several millennia to form this immense sandbank, which was created by the erosion of the mountain ranges (Massif Central, Pyrenees). Transported by rivers to the sea, the sand is carried by the waves which deposit it on the beaches. The wind from the sea then blows it inland.

When it encounters obstacles, such as vegetation and the Landes de Gascogne forest that borders it, the sand can accumulate and form a dune.

Its history can be traced by observing the succession of different layers of sand and the black layers - which can be seen especially in winter - which are former forest soils.

An exceptional preserved place

An exceptional preserved place

The beauty of the Dune quickly made it a coveted area, threatened by the urbanisation of the coastline.

Classified in 1994 and protected by the law of 1930 on natural monuments and sites, the dune and the adjoining forest, covering more than 6800 hectares, are today two monuments of the Great Sites, like the cliffs of Etretat on the Côte d'Albâtre.

The Banc d'Arguin

This nature reserve, a refuge for many seabirds, looks like a deserted island with its pale sand and clear waters. This sandbank is the largest on the Gironde coastline and extends at low tide over 4 km long and 2 km wide. Accessible only by boat, you can take a shuttle at the foot of the dune.


  • Guided tours: every Sunday in season at 10am (1 hour)
  • Sunset walk: every Wednesday evening in season at 7.30pm
  • Guided walks from the dune to the Banc d'Arguin: every Wednesday in season at 9.30 am
At the moment :
Frais de dossier offerts

Les frais de dossier vous seront offerts pour toute réservation d'un séjour hors saison (hors juillet / août.

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